You’ve had a baby, you’ve had your 6 week check (or 12 if you had a c-section), you want your body back and you’re ready to crack on with the exercise, right? Well, going straight into regular exercise may not be the right thing for you to do and may actually hinder your progress. So, I want to tell you what you should be thinking about before you book that buggy class or go back to your regular gym sessions.
How was the birth?
Obviously a c-section is a fairly big trauma on your body, but a vaginal birth that has intervention (forceps, episotomy, vontuse etc) also puts incredible strain on your body, so both will need an element of ‘rehabilitation’ before doing regular exercise. The trauma of these type of births, means you’ll have soft tissue imbalances that vibrate a long way from this trauma, so you may have alignment issues, back pains, shoulder pains etc. You therefore need to take part in a functional exercise programme that works your entire body in synergy and doesn’t just focus on muscles in isolation.
Have you got an abdominal split or pelvic floor issues?
If you have either of these then you definitely need to stop and assess what you’re doing to help it. An abdominal split (aka Diastasis Recti) can indicate a weak, unstable core, leading to problems with your alignment and giving you back pains for example. It is possible to live pain free and functional with a split, so it’s not something to obsess about, but if you have a wide gap and the gap is squidgy to the touch, then you need to look at improving your alignment, being more efficient with your breathing, strengthening the core and getting the right nutrition, among other things.
Leaking is not something you should put up with either – yes lots of people do, but it can be prevented, so proper training (and not just doing your pelvic floors at the traffic lights) is required. Quite often (in about 66%) women who have a gap, also have a weak pelvic floor. And I know it’s one of those things that you never seem to find the time to do and may seem like a waste of time, but trust me, you need to do something about this. It’s such an important muscle and no-one wants to be wearing tena ladies from now until old age!
Have you got the right mindset?
It’s natural to want to look your best (not normally how you feel straight after birth of course!), but are you thinking about how others look at you or are you thinking about YOUR body and giving it the attention it needs? Mostly, women want their pre-pregnancy body back because they want to look good next to their friends and show them they’re ok. You see celebs who’ve slimmed right back down in a matter of days and you want that, so you rush back to doing exercises you used to do before baby, as you think that’ll work. Everyone is different and in some cases that may well be possible, but mostly, you need to be considerate to your body and take it slower. Easier said than done I know, but take time to look at what your body needs rather than thinking about society’s perception of the new mum.
In summary what I’m saying is that you need to love your body and give it the time and the healing it needs. Remember there’s no rush – look after your body in those initial stages and you’ll get back to the body you want much quicker than if you do the wrong things! Yes, it may seem a little slow and boring to some of you, but I promise you’ll be doing your body a better service in the long run.
Jenny Burrell, who was my teacher at one of my postnatal training courses, said that now is not the time to be bad-ass. You need to recover first. Bad-assery comes later!
Take note ladies!
I'm looking to run some postnatal buggy classes, so if you’ve already done the rehabilitation stage and are ready to get back to being a bad-ass then these are for you. Check the current situation!
If you’ve had any birth interventions, if you’ve got aches/pains or if you have an abdominal split (or want to know if you have one), then get in touch with me for alternative options. I can do 121 sessions for this and I also do small private classes to work on the rehabilitation stage as well as a postnatal Pilates class on a Monday at 12.15pm. Speak to me for more info.
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